U.S. hiring jumped to a nine-year high in February, a sign of robust business demand for new workers, while the number of open positions slipped.

The Labor Department says 5.4 million people found jobs, a 5.8 percent jump from January and the most since November 2006. More Americans also quit their jobs. Both figures point to a healthier, more dynamic labor market.

Businesses have been reluctant to accelerate hiring for much of the nearly seven year old recovery. But the raw hiring numbers have now returned to pre-recession levels. That suggests businesses are more confident about the economy's future.

Tuesday's figures track total hiring. The monthly jobs report released last week calculates a net total of job gains after subtracting those who quit, retired or were laid off.